A Dartmouth man who is blind is calling on the city to use better designed construction barriers to help visually impaired people avoid sidewalk hazards.

Troy Nauffts uses a guide dog to safely navigate city streets. He was recently walking to the ferry terminal when he nearly stepped into a construction zone because one of the barriers was down.

“My dog abruptly came to a halt and I put my foot out to see what was going on and I could feel the edge of the pavement disappear,” he says.

Sometimes the barriers are erected, but are too close to the hazard to be helpful, he said.

Troy Nauftts

Troy Nauftts says he nearly walked into a construction zone because a barrier was down. (CBC)

“If you didn’t detect it and react quick enough when you hit it and knocked it over, you would fall right into the hole instead of fall over it and fall on the sidewalk," he said.

Nauffts dislikes the sawhorse style barriers because of the wide gap at the bottom. He said a better design would help, but it's also an issue of awareness and education.

The local chapter of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind says construction barriers should be made so someone using a cane can detect them. Workers should get training on safe construction site planning.  

CNIB officials also say the city could do its part by making a list of sidewalk projects easily available.

"I think it would be great if you could sign up on an email list... so whenever there was construction going on you would get the notice," said Peter Parsons, manager of programs and services at CNIB in Halifax.

Navigating sidewalk construction is being discussed by Halifax's Accessibility Advisory Committee on Monday.